Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Two people have been charged in connection with the death of Prince McCree, a 5-year-old from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who was found dead in a dumpster last week, according to reports.

27-year-old David E. Pietura and 15-year-old Erik J. Mendoza were both charged Monday with first degree intentional homicide, among other charges.

Pietura was charged with homicide, physical abuse of a child causing death, and hiding a corpse. Mendoza was charged with homicide, physical abuse of a child causing death, hiding a corpse, and three separate counts of recklessly endangering safety,

If convicted of all charges, Pietura and Mendoza both face life in prison. There is no death penalty in Wisconsin.

Last Wednesday, Milwaukee Police reported McCree missing. The next day, he was found dead in a dumpster near 55th and Vliet, according to police.

Alderman Michael Murphy represents the 10th District where McCree’s body was discovered. He visited the location where the boy’s body was found on Friday to pay his respects.

“I think like most of us, we’re heartbroken. A beautiful little baby, tragically lost his life. In the manner in which he was placed, just struck a chord with me that this is a special human being and being placed in a trash bin, it hurt a lot,” said Murphy.

Mendoza is also accused of committing three random, nonfatal stabbings of strangers he encountered on the street in Milwaukee, all on Oct. 23, two days before Prince was killed.

Mendoza told police he had been bored that night and always wanted to stab someone, the complaint said. Pietura also told police Mendoza discussed wanting to kill Prince for some time because he didn’t like him.

Prince had just started kindergarten this fall and recently lost his second baby tooth, said Marie Stillo, a cousin of Prince’s mother. He had two siblings and enjoyed school and superheroes, such as Spider-Man.

Prince had last been seen inside his home on the 2400 block of North 54th Street by his mother at 9 a.m. but was discovered missing four hours later. Police issued multiple alerts about his disappearance in the following hours.

But that didn’t include an Amber Alert, which would have pinged cell phone users in the area. Investigators didn’t have information about a suspect or a vehicle description, which are required pieces of information for issuing such an alert, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Prince was found in a dumpster about a mile south of his home, on the 5500 block of West Vliet Street, Thursday morning.

Prince lived in a home with his parents and two siblings. The home is owned by a family friend, an adult woman, who also lived there with her three children, one of whom is Mendoza.

Pietura, described as an “associate” of the homeowner, lived in the basement.

Prince stayed home from school Wednesday after complaining of a sore throat. Around 9 a.m., his mother went to sleep while Prince went to the basement to play video games.

After the mother awoke at 1 p.m., she couldn’t find Prince in the home and eventually called police. Pietura and Mendoza were in the home around that time.

Officers performed a grid search of the neighborhood and contacted around 200 residences and businesses but didn’t find the boy.

Eventually, police located bloodstains in the basement of the home. Pietura, who was seen with a large amount of blood on his leg as he talked to police, denied seeing Prince at all that day and said he and Mendoza had spent two hours on a walk.

He allowed police to search his phone. GPS coordinates showed he lied about the route he and the teen took on their walk. Officers then arrested Pietura.

He later told police that Prince came to the basement to play video games, where the teen eventually joined them. At one point, Pietura left to go upstairs and returned to find Mendoza choking Prince.

Pietura and Mendoza both initially denied harming Prince. Both eventually backtracked.

They told police they choked him and beat him with their fists. The teen used a golf club and a barbell to harm the boy. They later wrapped him in duct tape and multiple garbage bags before leaving him in a dumpster.

Pietura eventually told police where they could find the body.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com

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